“Gurl Gamer”

In the years of MySpace, on the internet there was a photo of a girl with bangs biting the thread of an Xbox controller, which became the emblem of the “gurl gamer”, young women who pose as videogame experts to attract the attention of males. In addition to being the subject of wonderful parodies, the famous photograph had sparked the indignation of “real” gamers: a video game enthusiast must respond to a certain aesthetic canon and accept a series of moral values ​​to prove that she is not an attention whore. Gamers, in the common imagination, are the videogame transposition of the manic pixie dream girl: girls a bit nerd and a bit crazy, gregarious but also shy, masculine but also sexy. But there is a big difference between the erotic dreams of nerdy teenagers and the reality of the facts: all the US and European market data tell us that about half of video game users are women, unlike what we are led to imagine. . Italy also replicates the situation of other countries: according to the report “Video games in Italy in 2019”, published by IIDEA (Italian Interactive Digital Entertainment Association), 47% of gamers are women. An audience of nearly 8 million gamers out of a total of 17 million, which fuel a turnover of 1.8 million euros.

Man dominated

Despite the strong female presence, the gaming world remains tenaciously anchored to a macho imaginary, both from the point of view of representation, and for the treatment that is reserved for gamers, especially those who play online or stream on Twitch, a popular broadcasting platform for video games. As media critic Anita Sarkeesian explained in her YouTube series “Tropes vs Women in Video Games” – the protagonist of a bad story of harassment, a perfect example of how gaming is by no means an inclusive environment towards women – even if initially the video games were created as an audience neutral product. In fact, the first titles, both for computer and arcade, such as Spacewar !, Pong and Space Invaders, had no gender connotation. However, since the mid-eighties, in parallel with the spread of the Commodore 64 and the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), video game marketing has taken on an almost exclusively male point of view, in the belief that it was the most lucrative market segment. Since that decade, video game and console advertisements have focused on sexual objectification that associates the female body with a toy to have fun with.


In parallel, the content of video games has also changed to suit a male point of view, starting with one of the most important and influential video games ever, Donkey Kong. Developed in 1981 for arcade, it was one of the first platform video games with a plot: the game follows the adventures of Jumpman who, jumping from one floor to another, must try to save a woman kidnapped by the gorilla Donkey Kong. Video game historians consider Donkey Kong to be a very important step in the consolidation of one of the most common themes of video games: that of the damsel in distress. The creator of the game, as well as the developer of some of the most influential video games in history, Shigeru Miyamoto will use this narrative topos at other times: in the Super Mario saga (which is the evolution of Donkey Kong’s Jumpman, and in which the new bridesmaid to save is Princess Peach) and Zelda’s. Interviewed by Kotaku, Miyamoto explained that he never considered making the characters of Peach or Zelda playable because at the time only males were interested in video games, and therefore there was no reason why they wanted to play females. . To tell the truth, Peach can be played in some editions of Mario Kart (where, however, there is no gender dynamic and where she is a less experienced driver than the others) and in Super Princess Peach for Nintendo DS, the only game that sees the princess protagonist on a mission to save Mario, but in which the enemies are defeated not by force or heroism, but by emotions.

Although the saga of the plumber with a mustache has always remained faithful to its fabulous and colorful aesthetic without ever introducing explicitly misogynistic elements, the same cannot be said of the myriad of video games that have associated the already problematic topos of the damsel in distress with the sexual objectification. In particular, the girl in danger, in addition to being represented in a sexualized way with skimpy clothing or in sexy poses, becomes a sort of reward for the hero who saved her. “This topos frames the female body as something that can be collected, manipulated or consumed, and positions women as a status symbol designed to confirm the masculinity of the alleged heterosexual male player,” says Sarkeesian.

Even if the problem is analyzed in purely quantitative terms without considering the way in which women are narrated, the female population remains underrepresented in video games. An extensive 2009 study published in the journal New Media & Society compared the percentages of female presence and ethnic minorities in 150 titles with those of video game market analyzes in the United States. In games, the gender ratio between the characters was 85% male versus 15% female, versus the real 51% gamers and 49% female gamers. In the vast majority of cases (89.5%), the male characters were also playable ones. Added to this is a racial problem: whites are over-represented, while blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans appear very rarely. The only exception is that of Asians, whose presence in video games exceeds the percentage of the American population, but this is easily explained by the fact that many video game producers are Japanese.

The gaze of video games is therefore a male gaze, heterosexual and white and this has important consequences in a medium in which, as a rule, the identification of the user with the character is total, as the player is responsible for the actions in the development of the history. This is an issue that is deeply felt by videogame critics: according to several studies, being able to recognize yourself in a character, even in a video game, helps to validate one’s personality, especially in the younger ones. However, this representation is partial and often prejudiced. Even when the protagonist is a woman, it often happens that the way she is shown and narrated is problematic. Lara Croft, protagonist of the famous Tomb Raider series and one of the most influential female characters of all time, is yes a woman, but she also responds to a male imaginary: she is dressed in a sexy way, has huge breasts and is a “badass” . When the authors decided to renew the character to adapt him to current events, instead of making his personality more complex or multifaceted, they thought it well to create an origin story in which it is discovered that Lara Croft has survived an attempted rape: a very used expedient. in the script to give depth to a woman, which however reduces her to the stereotype of a victim. Beyond these problems, that of Tomb Raider remains one of the rare cases of mainstream video games in which the player is forced to impersonate a female character, and has no choice. The reverse situation, on the other hand, is normal for women or for sexual minorities who are passionate about video games. As Luca De Santis, author of Videogaymes, told the podcast of The Vision AntiBodies. Homosexuality in video games between representation and simulation and curator of the Geek Queer project, “The idea that straight male players cannot identify with a female character or a gay character is a false problem. As a gay person, I spent forty years identifying with straight characters and I had no problem “.

Present and future

Over time, the representation and storytelling in video games of women and other minorities, including LGBTQ +, has certainly improved. Today there are many games with non-stereotyped female protagonists, or gay and trans characters. On the one hand, the internet has made the female public and their needs increasingly visible, but on the other hand it has exposed them to a direct confrontation with the most hostile and toxic groups, such as the so-called “male sphere”. Italian data from IIDEA confirm that women are more reluctant to play online than men: if 37% of males love to play online multiplayer, this mode is chosen only by 21% of women. Conversely, 88% of women prefer the single player mode, compared to 78% of men. In the United States, the online gaming gap is even wider: 38% women and 62% men. The reason is easy to understand: by playing with other users, women are much more exposed to insults and harassment. As a result, many female players prefer to play offline or pretend to be men to escape attacks. In reality, violence in the gaming community is not a problem that only women experience: according to a survey by the Anti-Defamation League, an NGO that fights cyberbullying, more than 70% of online gamers have suffered some form of harassment. In 53% of cases, characteristics such as gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation were the object of the attack and women receive on average three times as many attacks as men. Many women also experience outright sexual assaults, such as non-consensual submission of sexual material, revenge porn, and threats of rape. While there are many women who love video games, they will continue to be perceived and treated as a minority.

Videogames: From nerd activities to industry

In recent months, media around the world have discovered that there is a form of life, called “gamers”. They are humanoid beings with strange habits: they spend hours in front of the screen, they get excited if their avatar rips a dragon but, more intriguingly, they spend mountains of money on accessories and games. All Covid Free, indeed Covid Powered!

The world of video games was not born today. For anyone of the writer’s age, playing a video game is a way to pass the time like reading a book (a rather rare activity in Italy), watching a football match on TV, or binge watching (in short, shooting yourself a whole season of a TV series). The lockdown, net of allowing people to work from home, has magnified some virtual activities to pass the time. Social networks, e-commerce, Youporn and video games. On the first 3 I don’t think there is much new to say, while on the fourth topic it is worth investigating.

That’s so nerdy!

What used to be a nerdy business today is a structured industry, with billionaire budgets, double-digit growth expectations and even competitions sponsored by major international brands. Just to give two figures for 2020: it is estimated that the world of gamers will exceed 160 billion dollars in turnover. Covid has certainly given a boost but, it should be remembered, already in 2019 it was around 145 billion.

Surprisingly, a large part of the successful video games were produced in the Nordic countries, such as Sweden where the developer market and related supply chain is worth a few billion. The sector begins to have some gems also in Italy. A famous Italian is Riccardo Zacconi, who with the invention and subsequent sale of Candy Crush literally turned on the lights on Italian creativity. However, there are many realities that are emerging in our country. It helps the availability of bandwidth, the high rate of creativity of the Italians and a growing technological competence.

Developing games in Italy

However, if the collective imagination leads us to believe that “only in Milan” there can be a miracle, we are wrong. Milan is certainly the capital of Italy for many sectors: finance, fashion, design, and yet the rising cost of living combined with the “no need” to be on site allows startups in the sector to be able to operate anywhere. This is the case of Cube, a Sardinian startup that, in a few years, has grown in the niche sector of accessories for simulators.

Here you have to go down in the technical. If a mouse and keyboard are enough for a strategic video game, true gamers who are passionate about car or flight simulations need a joystick or a steering wheel. The higher the sensitivity on the peripheral, the better the feel and gaming experience. Obviously we are talking about a niche sector, in the world of gamers, however the numbers are all there.

“We started in 2016, the first year we had a turnover of just under 20,000 euros, today we should close 2020 with 2 million. Operating from Sassari allows us to keep production costs low and thanks to e-commerce we can sell anywhere “explains Fabio Sotgiu, co-founder of Cube Controls.

Mind-boggling figures? A start. Recall that the peripheral sector, in the gaming world, is an industry in continuous growth. In 2019 it is estimated to have reached about 3.9 billion dollars, with a growth forecast for 2020; control peripherals are a constant and growing presence.

If we consider that simulation games are mostly present on PC platforms and, more recently, consoles, we understand how most of the peripherals are created for PCs. “We started with racing wheels, to be used for e-sports. After establishing our presence in the niche market of e-sports champions, we are expanding to produce pedal sets and joystick for aircraft simulations ”.

Sotgiu clarifies that, albeit niche, that of peripherals, for amateurs, is a product with high demand. A question for which true enthusiasts are willing to spend a lot. In the coming months (given what we read) a vaccine or treatment will be on the way. This does not mean that the tendency to work from home will remain a working standard. This will push the demand for games, platforms (PCs, consoles) and related peripherals even higher.

It is nice to observe how, like Sweden, Italy has the skills and competence to earn a slice of the market. The fallout for the whole nation, as Sweden demonstrates, is of great interest.

Online gaming addiction

This category of Internet addiction includes behaviors ranging from gambling to video games. Online gambling addiction was recently included in the third section of DSM 5.

While games such as “Minesweeper” or “Solitaire” began to pose a problem for many companies in the 1980s, whose workers spent much of their time playing them, the development of interactive online games and role-playing games has increased the phenomenon exponentially.

Addiction to online games shares several elements with substance addiction: changes in neurotransmitter circuits (alteration of the dopaminergic system linked to reinforcement) and behavioral alterations (impulse control, inhibition, cognitive control).

For several years now, studies have shown how addiction to online games is associated with serious consequences for the psychophysical health of the person:

1-Drastic reduction of interpersonal relationships

2-Reduction / absence of hobbies

3-Poor sleep hygiene

4-Decline in work performance

5-Decline in academic performance

6-Decline in attentional skills

7-Increased aggression and hostility

8-Increased stress

9-Decline in verbal memory

10-Increased loneliness

11-Weight gain

Griffiths (Griffiths, 2005) explains the 6 components that make up the bio – psycho – social process that leads to addiction:

1-At the behavioral level, the person is totally absorbed in the game

2-The game is a way to escape from reality and allows you to experience pleasant emotions

3-The person needs to prolong the time spent playing to feel the positive effects on himself (pleasant emotions)

4-The person feels anxious, depressed and irritable if he cannot play

5-A significant social withdrawal emerges

6-Although the person understands the seriousness of his situation and stops playing for a while, he is never able to completely stop

From an interpersonal relationship point of view, those who suffer from online gaming addiction prefer to spend their time with friends they meet online and believe that these relationships are much more true and intense than those in real life.

Online game addicts play in order not to feel dissatisfaction and this is an indicator of the onset of symptoms related to the withdrawal they experience as they are increasingly “captured” by the game.


There have been problems with the PlayStation online service recently, which has made it difficult for many players during gameplay or just to download a title.

Between February 27 and February 28 there were problems with the PlayStation Network server and this caused numerous annoyances to players, regarding online gameplay and access to their personal PlayStation account. According to the official PlayStation Status website, PlayStation Network is still experiencing problems not only in the company’s next-gen console but also on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and even PlayStation Vita.

The site stated that, during this period, you may have difficulty launching games, apps or functions on the network, such as changing account information, etc.

According to several sources, the PlayStation Network problems do not seem to interfere with the PlayStation Now, PlayStation Music and PlayStation Video services but there are problems, for example, in downloading titles from the PlayStation Store on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 platforms.

How can I check if the PlayStation Network services are working?

For some time Sony has made available PlayStation Status, a website that allows you to see in real time if every PlayStation service on the network is working 100%. If you encounter any problems playing or downloading titles from the PlayStation Store or listening to music via PlayStation Music, you just have to access the service to see if it is actually a Sony server problem or not.

Another very interesting service is DownDetector, another website that allows, through user reports, to see if there have been any failures or problems with any server, including those of PlayStation.

According to the latter, the PlayStation Network reports of problems occurred around midnight yesterday and continued throughout the night. Only in the early hours of the morning did the reports of faults from users decrease.

Unfortunately, even now, the situation has not improved and I advise all players to keep an eye on the services mentioned above to observe the situation of the servers. The official PlayStation Status site still highlights several issues across all affected platforms including: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PlayStation Vita.

Hopefully, Sony will be able to solve this problem as soon as possible by allowing players to return to everything as before. Let us know yours in the comments!

The more PlayStation 5, the more Sony games in the rankings!

The sales figures have also arrived for this last week of February, and despite the eternal love for Nintendo Switch this time the United Kingdom has been able to indulge in an escapade with Sony. Let’s go in order. With its top spot for the third straight week, we have Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, despite a 38% drop in weeks to come. There is no rain on this, but the tangible demand for PlayStation 5 has led the titles for the console to benefit enormously from the arrival of new stocks after the unnerving wait for the latter. We are therefore dealing with a slightly different ranking than usual.

The biggest momentum, in these sales figures, is that of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, which in the weekly ranking of the best-selling games in the United Kingdom closes the month of February with a second place. The most popular PlayStation 5 title (so far, of course) received a 172% increase, thus abandoning the seventh place. The game missed the top spot by only a thousand units. The other to return to the top 40 (of the physical format, we remember) is Demon’s Souls, who finished twenty-first thanks to an increase of 123%. Speaking of rookies, as the subtitle above suggests.

The ranking of sales at the end of February 2021

Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers makes its debut in the ranking of sales figures in fifth place on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, of which the latter grabs 72% of February sales. Meanwhile, Square-Enix’s Bravely Default II places eleventh. Returning from the afterlife (pun absolutely wanted), however, is The Last of Us: Part II. The PlayStation 4 title returns to third place with a 3992% increase (assuming GamesIndustry.biz isn’t having a tantrum), thanks to a discount that brought the game under twenty pounds in some stores. You already know how to read the table, so we let you consult it at your convenience!

Did you expect PlayStation 5 stocks to affect the latest February sales figures from the UK this way, or do you think Nintendo’s top spot is more normal? Climb like Miles to the top of the PS5 in the comments!



Before getting to the heart of the matter, I think it is right to thank the kind provider of the data that we will deal with today.

Limelight Networks, Inc. is a leader in providing digital content, video, cloud security, and edge computing services, enabling customers to enjoy exceptional digital experiences. Limelight’s service platform includes a unique combination of global private infrastructure, intelligent software and expert support services that enable current and future workflows. Here is the official website of the company!

In this article, I collected the most interesting information from this research, as I did with a very interesting research from Microsoft, which aimed to understand how popular the video game has become in various European countries.

But how much do these gamers play!

Globally, consumers are binge-gaming more and more, with a 7% increase compared to 2019 and with an average of four consecutive hours and 36 minutes. This, according to the recent “State of Online Gaming” report analyzing gaming behaviors and consumer expectations, released by Limelight Networks Inc.

The spread of binge-gaming is predictably higher among younger gamers. According to the report, gamers between the ages of 18 and 25 have gaming sessions that even exceed an average of six hours and 34 minutes, 11% more than a year ago. Japan has the longest average binge-gaming time, with over five and a half hours, and nearly one in ten players (9%) admit playing more than 15 straight hours.

Although the report shows that, globally, gamers spend less time playing video games each week than last year – on average six hours and 20 minutes – their longer binge-gaming sessions can in part be attributed to the spread. anywhere, anytime gaming. Globally, the smartphone is the leading gaming device for gamers around the world, and the preference for smartphone gaming has increased by 13% compared to 2019.

After the smartphone, Italian gamers prefer to play on PC and consoles, although this year’s research has identified a strong global interest in cloud gaming services, with 44% of respondents saying they are interested in subscribe to these services. India is the country that has expressed the highest interest in subscribing to cloud gaming services (83%).


Other interesting insights that emerged from the research include:

  • The price and performance could limit the adoption of streaming services. Interest in new console-free gaming platforms is particularly high (71%) among those who define themselves as experts and (77%) among aspiring professional gamers. However, 51.2% of Italian gamers would not be interested in streaming, expressing concerns about the high price (54.3%) and performance problems such as latency (24.2%).
  • Watching others play video games increases the popularity of younger gamers, sparking the desire to become professionals. Gamers aged 18-25 watch others play video games online (via platforms like Twitch or YouTube Gaming) for more than four hours each week and are the most likely to want to turn this hobby into a profession (53%). In Italy, 43.6% of gamers would quit their jobs to become a professional gamer if this could keep them.
  • Gamers prefer to play games than do a lot of daily activities. Almost half of Italian gamers (45.8%) did not sleep to continue playing. Many Italian consumers also skipped work (6.6%), meals (6.6%) and showers (19.8%). Globally, younger gamers are the most likely to skip meals (39%) or shower (35%) to keep playing. Given these, quite worrying ..
  • Download speed is the biggest frustration, especially for hardcore gamers. Globally, the vast majority of gamers (87%) find the game download process frustrating. 17.3% of Italian gamers indicate slow download speeds as their main concern, 36.1% are frustrated when downloads are interrupted and have to start over and 33.3% when downloads don’t work. Globally, download speed frustrations are highest among experienced gamers (41%) and aspiring professionals (58%).
  • Globally, casual single player games like Candy Crush, Angry Birds and Spider Solitaire are the most popular, and first person shooter games like Call of Duty, Destiny 2 and Overwatch are the second most popular video game type and are increased in popularity by over 6% in the past year.
  • Online video games continue to be popular. On average, gamers spend six hours and 20 minutes each week playing games. However, this is an 11% reduction in playing time over the past year.
  • It is very difficult to pinpoint the general preference between playing video games and watching TV or movies in most countries, but there is a clear preference for age groups. Gamers aged 18 to 45 prefer to play video games while those aged 46 prefer to watch movies and TV shows.

Here are some more precise numbers!

Let’s look at the numbers specifically: as already mentioned above, gamers spend an average of six hours and 20 minutes each week playing. A figure that has received an 11% decrease in the last year. Almost a third (32%) play more than seven hours a week, while 17% play more than 12 hours a week.

Players in Germany spend most of their time playing, on average nearly seven hours a week. South Korea recorded the lowest weekly average at 5.04 hours, surprising when you keep in mind how often Koreans are often regarded as the lords of farming. Japan and the UK had the highest numbers of players playing more than 20 hours per week at 12% and 10% respectively.

Gamers between the ages of 26 and 35 are the ones who spend the most time playing, with 7.5 hours per week. The over 60s are as expected at the bottom, with “only” 4.7 hours of play. The global data is interesting, considering all ages, with a rather high average of 6.33 hours per week!

Men play almost seven hours a week. This is on average an hour and two minutes longer than women, who play 5.80 hours. 19.6 percent of men play for 12 hours or more, compared to just 14.4 percent of women.

It should come as no surprise that players who identify as aspiring pros or experts reach a much higher hourly quota per week, while most casual and novice players play less than seven hours per week.

Everyone always talks about it badly, but it is the most used gaming device!

Mobile phones remain the most popular device used to play video games globally. Gaming consoles have the highest usage in the UK, tablets are used more in India than any other country, and Italy has the highest computer usage.

Mobile phones are the most popular devices in every age group followed by computers. Gaming consoles are most popular among the hardcore gamers who play the most, namely the 26 to 35.

Women are more likely to use mobile phones for gaming than men, while men use computers and consoles more than women.